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Clothing in Literature

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by Manton, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    What do people think are some of the best literary treatments of clothing? Not books like Flusser and Boyer, but books that are not ostensibly about clothes, whether fiction or non-fiction. I nominate Bonfire of the Vanities for fiction and Unto the Sons for non-fiction.
     


  2. globetrotter

    globetrotter Stylish Dinosaur

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    I like thomas mann. In terms of asthetics, my favorite period/location would be central europe/italy in the first 25 years or so of the 20th century. so mann's writtings have a great interst for me in terms of clothing.
     


  3. aybojs

    aybojs Senior Member

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    I've only read excerpts, but how about Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus?
     


  4. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    I'll add Sister Carrie to the fiction list.
     


  5. Alex_O

    Alex_O Well-Known Member

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    Time Must Have a Stop
    By Alduous Huxley

    Some good descriptions of clothing and the feeling they produce very vivid.

    Also notable for main characters want of some new party clothes (tuxedo I think ) and his father's dismissal of such thing's as too class oriented.
     


  6. Bradford

    Bradford Current Events Moderator

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    Robert B. Parker does a great job of chronicling the looks of his characters both in his Spenser series and his other books.

    It's fun to read them and to notice the different styles from the time period in which they were done.

    Hannibal (Silence of the Lambs sequel) is another in which the clothing and other items are quite well described and of course we really don't even need to mention American Psycho that's practically a catalog of late 80's style.

    Bradford
     


  7. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    If we're going to mention American Psycho, then we might as well throw in The Secret History.
     


  8. Bradford

    Bradford Current Events Moderator

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    We could, although I would suggest we stay away from the whole literature Brat Pack of the 80's/early 90's (McInerny, Ellis, Janowitz, whatever her name was who wrote The Secret History). It's just way too overdone and was certainly overdone in the early days of this forum. I can't even stand to go back and read most of those works, because, IMHO, those authors just substituted a catalog of material items (clothes, cars, music, drugs) for actual character development. Bradford
     


  9. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Distinguished Member

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    (Manton @ 14 Nov. 2004, 6:10) If we're going to mention American Psycho, then we might as well throw in The Secret History.
    We could, although I would suggest we stay away from the whole literature Brat Pack of the 80's/early 90's (McInerny, Ellis, Janowitz, whatever her name was who wrote The Secret History). It's just way too overdone and was certainly overdone in the early days of this forum. I can't even stand to go back and read most of those works, because, IMHO, those authors just substituted a catalog of material items (clothes, cars, music, drugs) for actual character development. Bradford
    I couldn't stomach American Psycho after the rat incident [​IMG] koji
     


  10. Kai

    Kai Distinguished Member

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    The James Bond books are another obvious choice.
     


  11. jasonpraxis

    jasonpraxis Well-Known Member

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    Donna Tartt. Who has very little to do with the New Narrative or Blank Generation writers other than her association with Ellis. To add to the list: Vanity Fair by Thackeray, and Pattern Recognition by William Gibson.
     


  12. Bradford

    Bradford Current Events Moderator

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    Donna Tartt. Who has very little to do with the New Narrative or Blank Generation writers other than her association with Ellis. Thanks - I can never remember her name. And you are right, unfortunately her whole Bennington-Ellis tie makes me lump her into that group. Doesn't she even mention one of his characters in the book? Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Can't believe I forgot this one - I have an autographed copy that I got at a reading he did here last year. Very cool book.
     


  13. shoreman1782

    shoreman1782 Distinguished Member

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    I always thought this was a commentary on the characters, especially in American Psycho. Patrick pays attention to these details excessively and at the expense of noticing actual character details. He can tell you the designer and provenance of every garment in the room, but cannot remember anyone's name correctly.
    I could be wrong.
    Speaking of material lists, I always thought Oscar Wilde's catalogues of the title character's acquisitions in Dorian Gray were interesting, I think Wilde just copied them out of actual catalogues of people's/museums' collections.

    V. Woolf was always good at capturing looks, and the effect of attire, though I don't think she often went into detail about clothing/style.
     


  14. globetrotter

    globetrotter Stylish Dinosaur

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    shoreman, I think that you are right about psycho - I think that the idea was a satire on the materialism of the 80's.
     


  15. imageWIS

    imageWIS Stylish Dinosaur

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    As long as American Psycho is mentioned; we should also put Glamorama into the ring. Jon.
     


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